Long Beach approves ban on releasing balloons
The Long Beach City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution banning the act of releasing balloons into the air above the oceanfront community.
The ban takes effect immediately. Anyone caught intentionally releasing a balloon faces up to a $250 fine, but people are still allowed to have them.
Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says 99 percent of released balloons end up in bodies of water and are harmful -- and potentially lethal -- to marine mammals like whales and dolphins.
Amanda Moore, of Surfrider Foundation, says balloons are among the most common trash collected from beach cleanups in Long Beach. She says the group has found balloons inside animals, and they've also found animals strangled by balloon strings.
The legislation adds to other city environmental measures, including a 5-cent plastic and paper bag fee passed in 2017.
Long Beach is the first Nassau community to enact such a ban. East Hampton passed a similar measure in February.